Oberbank to ink deal with Iran on Sept. 21

September 11, 2017

TEHRAN- Austria’s Oberbank will sign a deal with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) on September 21 to finance Austrian projects in Iran, the bank’s chief executive has said.

“I think we are the first European bank (to reach such an agreement),” Franz Gasselsberger told Reuters, adding that he was relying on information from the Iranian authorities.

“Evidently some Germans and Italians are also negotiating,” he said, adding that a Danish bank was also in talks. He declined to name any of those companies, but Denmark’s Danske Bank said in January that it was negotiating with the CBI.

Signing the deal at its headquarters in the city of Linz will make Oberbank, Austria’s seventh biggest lender, among the first European lenders to do so since sanctions were eased against Iran.

The Oberbank’s agreement with Iran covers projects by Austrian companies in Iran lasting more than two years, in areas that were previously under sanctions. Oberbank already finances exports to Iran in areas such as food, Gasselsberger said.

“We have very concrete projects in the fields of infrastructure, rail, health, hospital construction, factory building, photovoltaics, hydro power,” he added. 

In a meeting with the former Iranian finance minister Ali Tayyebnia in Tehran on June 10, Austria’s Federal Minister of Finance Hans Jörg Schelling said that Oberbank would grant €1 billion for financing investment projects in Iran. 

CBI Governor Valiollah Seif said in August that three European countries including Austria, Denmark and Italy are set to open €22 billion credit lines for financing projects in Iran which in addition to the €8-billion credit line to be secured by South Korea’s Eximbank the total value of loan deals will reach €30 billion after Iran’s nuclear accord in 2015.

South Korea’s Eximbank signed a deal with the Iranian banks in Seoul on August 25 to secure an €8-billion credit line for finance various projects in the Islamic Republic. It was Iran’s biggest loan deal since its nuclear deal and marked a new opening in attracting foreign investment to the country.

MA/MG

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